Final State Examination

Basic information 

The final state exam consists of the thesis defense and an academic discussion on the topic of the thesis. Prior to undergoing the final state exam students must earn 120 credits from coursework and submit a Master’s thesis by the departmental deadline. Of the 120 course credits, 92 should be earned in required courses and 28 in optional courses. All the required course credits and grades must be entered into the IS by the instructors at least seven days prior to the final state exams. 

Thesis defense

One week before the final state exam, the department publishes the MA thesis defense schedules, which show the time and place of thesis defense. Students should come about 20 minutes ahead of their scheduled time in case there is a change in schedule. 

The thesis defense follows a standard procedure. At the beginning, the student briefly introduces his/her work (5 minutes), after which the supervisor and opponent present their reviews. The student may respond to the reviews and then a general discussion follows. The thesis defense is open to the public. 

Academic Discussion on the Thesis topic

Discussion of the thesis topic includes questions from the members of the examination committee. All questions must be related to the topic of the thesis and grounded in the literature listed below.

The total time for the defense and discussion is 45-50 minutes.


The thesis defense and academic discussion constitute two parts of the final state examination. In case of failure in one of these parts, the student repeats only the part in which s/he failed. The defense and the exam are evaluated on the following scale: 

A- Excellent, B – Very Good, C – Good, D – Satisfactory, E – Sufficient, F – Failed.

State Exam Literature

  • Blaikie N. 2000. Designing Social Research: The Logic of Anticipation, Cambridge: Polity Press, 58-84.
  • Collier, P. & Hoeffler, A. 2004. Greed and Grievance in Civil War, Oxford Economic Papers 56(4): 563-595.
  • Fearon, J. & Laitin, D. 2003. Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War, American Political Science Review 97(1): 75-90.
  • Galtung, J. 1969. Violence, Peace and Peace Research, Journal of Peace Research 6(3): 167-191.
  • Gilpin, R. 1988. The Theory of Hegemonic War, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18(4): 591-613.
  • Kaldor, M. 2013. New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era. John
    Wiley & Sons. Introduction + Chapter 2.
  • Kellstedt, P. M. & Whitten, G. D. 2013. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1-21.
  • Leech, B. 2002. Asking Questions: Techniques for Semi-structured Interviews. PS: Political Science and Politics, 35(4), 665–668.
  • Mearsheimer, J. J. 1994. The False Promise of International Institutions.
    International security 19(3): 5-49.
  • Ould Mohamedou, M.-M. & Sisk, T. D. (eds.) 2017. Democratization in the 21st Century. Routledge, 1-28, 49-74, and 167-184.
  • Sartori, G. 1991. Comparing and Miscomparing. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 3(3): 243-257.
  • Scharre, P. 2018. Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, New York and London: W.W. Northon and Company, 1-58. 
  • Singer, P. W. & Friedman, A. 2014. Cybersecurity and Cyberwar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 12-66.
  • Talisse, R. 2009. Democracy and Moral Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11-41.
  • Talisse, R. 2016. Engaging Political Philosophy. Routledge, 41-65 and 66-92.
  • Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, Ch. 2000. Riding the Waves of Culture. London: Nicolas Brealey Publishing, 1-60.
  • Varol, O.  Stealth Authoritarianism, Iowa Law Review, 100: 1674-1715. Available online at
  • Webel, Ch. & Galtung, J. 2007. Handbook of Peace and Conflict Studies. Routledge, 14-63.
  • Wimmer, A. & Feinstein, Y. 2004. The Rise of the Nation-State across the World. American Sociological Review, 37(4): 458-485.

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